Dec 162016
 

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On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Poison at the PTA
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415073
E-Book ASIN: B00DYX9K8I

 

 

Poison at the PTA by Laura Alden – As the Tarver Elementary School PTA president, Beth Kennedy is always on the go—especially when someone puts murder on the agenda.

Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.

But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth finds it hard to say no to anything. Running her bookstore, being a single parent,  and PTA president fills most of her time but now she has added organizing the anniversary event for the PTA. Her friends see she has taken on too much and stage an intervention. From taking over meals to organizing the PTA event, they are taking over to give her a much needed break. She has a hard time accepting it but finally agrees to their plans. She has a little extra time for herself until one of the event speakers dies a few days after the program. Beth then finds herself intervening in the suspicious death investigation. Poison is found to be the murder weapon and Beth hopes to break the case before her little break from her full life ends.

I knew when I started this book it was the final book in the series, something the author didn’t know when writing it. It is set in Wisconsin and I really enjoyed the other books in  the series and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t read it right when it came out. A recent To-Be-Read Shelf reorganization unearthed it along with a few others I will need to read soon.

In this installment the author uses a poison each of us probably has in our homes right now, Acetaminophen. I had no idea how easy it would be to overdose on this over the counter drug. In fact because the drug is so common, suicide is even debated before the death was classified as a murder. Yes, that trigger for me again, but I knew there had to be more to the story so I plunged right on. I was not disappointed and the prospect of using something so common meant anyone could be a suspect.

I love these characters because they are so real, they remind me of people I know. They have families and common struggles and shared joys. They don’t always get along. They have their ups and their downs. And they come together to help when a friend needs them most, like they did for Beth. True friendships, a real small town feeling. The story is set in Rynwood, Wisconsin, a small town outside the capital of Madison, very much like my hometown. Beth has two children and they both have typical things happening in their lives and Beth handles both in a very common sense way eventually. Parenting is hard work and the answers are not always glaring you write in the face. I knew exactly what she was feeling after raising 4 kids of my own with very similar issues.

I think the reason I loved this series so much as it reminded me of my own life, without the murders, of course. Until my accident, I worked full time, my husband had a job where his work hours shifted every two weeks, so I felt like a single parent much of the time. I was involved with everything going on at the school, again 4 kids, each doing their own thing, all in a town of about 1000 people.

It is sad that this is my last escape to Rynwood and it is hard to say goodbye to Beth, Marina, Jenna, Oliver, Lois, Flossie and Paoze, but I know the author has moved on to other stories. Stories that I have and will enjoy in the future. She did finish the series out with a PERFECT ESCAPE!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Laura Alden is also Laurie Cass. She co-wrote Dead, Bath, and Beyond with Lorraine Bartlett.  It was just released this month. She also writes the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. Check out her webpage here for more info. 

I am giving away my copy of Poison at the PTA!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 112016
 
the cat, the collector and the killer
The Cat, The Collector and the Killer
(Cats in Trouble Mystery)

8th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – South Carolina
An Obsidian Mystery (August 2, 2016)
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477408
E-Book ASIN: B01839Q396
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Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She’s in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.

Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A feline filled fun mystery!

Married life is off to a great start for Jillian Hart and her “acting” police chief Tom Stewart. When Minnie Schultz is found disoriented wandering down a street in Mercy, Tom calls his wife for a little assistance. Minnie was carrying a kitty in a tote bag on her unexplainable walk around town. Jillian heads to get the kitten and calls Shawn, the owner of the local shelter. He knows Minnie very well and they take a trip to her house to check on the rest of her cats. They not only find many more cats, but also dead man. There is no way Minnie could be a killer, but there has to be a reason she was disoriented. Both Shawn and Jillian know the dead man and they know he had plenty of enemies as does Tom. They are going to need more than a clowder of kittens to solve this mystery.

I love, love, love this series! Jillian and Tom are not only a great couple but a great team. With a houseful of cats there is never a dull moment, especially when Jillian brings home a foster cat or two. Tom’s cat, Dashiell is just settling in with Syrah, Chablis, and Merlot when Jillian brings home Minnie’s Otto into the house. Dashiell is not one bit happy about that but Jillian knows how to handle these cats and I just love everything she does with and for them. Playtime, cuddles, special food for Dashiell, plenty of love to go around. She doesn’t spend as much time with them as they would like during this story. Tom has asked Jillian to help with the case. There is so much evidence to be cataloged that he really needs an extra set of hands and eyes. Of course she is no stranger to investigating murders so her observations are very valuable.

I am always captivated by the way the author writes these characters and the way the all work together. Yes, Tom and newly promoted Detective Candace, tell Jillian that things need to be kept confidential, by Jillian and stepdaughter Kara both make good sounding boards. Then they talk things through and MOST of the time tell Tom their thoughts before running off to get themselves in trouble. The key word here is MOST.

The new characters introduced in this book are very engaging, Minnie, a psychiatrist and her brother. Minnie’s children are an interesting bunch, estranged from their mother since their father died. Circumstances bring them all together in a very realistic way. I hope they pop up in future stories.

The mystery this time was also challenging with a lot of moving elements. I had an idea of the who but the how and the why just never fell into place until the very end. Twists and turns galore and I turned out to be only about 10% right in my deductions by the end of the book. That is why I love Leann Sweeney’s stories, she always surprises me.

Again I have a new favorite in the series, The Cat, The Collector and The Killer.  I bet that will change next October when The Cat, The Boy and Bones is released.  She gives us a sneak peak at the end of this book and I am sorry but I just couldn’t read it. Waiting until next October to read the whole thing would be excruciating.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 Find out more about Leann and her books on her webpage here.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Also by Leann Sweeney

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End August 25, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jul 232016
 

special guest blue

I am pleased to welcome Victoria Laurie to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Her new book A Grave Prediction will be released July 26! 

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

Victoria Laurie Author PhotoLately, I’ve been feeling a lot of “Stop the world, I wanna get off!” You know what I mean? It seems the world—an already mad-mad-mad place to begin with—has gone from being like that crazy drunk uncle no one wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving to full-on Freddy Krueger. We seem to be living in a time of nightmares instead of dreams, and it’s had me so down. Which is why I’m doing what I always do when I can’t take one more tragic, horrific, terrible news story or politically charged hyperbolic speech. I’m diving deep into a manuscript, and I’m not coming out till the end of November! Or when the book is finished. Whichever comes first.

The voice I always seem to revert to when seeking some comfort is my favorite protagonist: Abby Cooper. And, oddly, when I’m feeling the most blue is usually when she becomes her most clever, snarky, and fun.

It helps to laugh. It helps a lot. It’s a tiny, sweet high when I come up with the perfect zinger for Abs to either give or receive. (Full disclosure: It also helps the book sales, *wink* *wink*.) 🙂

This past December, I was in such a terrible funk; two months earlier I’d learned that someone I dearly, dearly love—a member of my own family—has a very rare terminal illness that there is neither a cure nor a protocol for. It was a blow that was completely unexpected for psychic me. Here’s the part where I confess that I didn’t see the diagnosis coming; although, now, looking back, I can also see that there were so many clues in the ether. I think I just couldn’t face even the thought of losing him.

I still can’t.

a grave predictionAnyway, during that time in December, my mood went dark—like dark—and I dove into a funk that literally took months to come out of. The thing that got me through was writing A Grave Prediction. Irony of ironies—it’s the funniest book I’ve written. In fact, it’s the only book I’ve read six times (throughout the editing process) and didn’t get sick of by the fourth pass. Seriously, I can honestly say that I’d totally read it again, and I don’t ever say that about any of my books, mostly because if you read a book six or seven times, especially one that you’ve written, you’re so, “Been there, read that. Next!”

But this little gem is different. A Grave Prediction is just light, and funny; it made me laugh and laugh during a time when that seemed impossible. And the fact that it’s release date is coming up here in the next few weeks (July 26, to be exact) makes me so happy. I think it might be exactly what most of my fans need right now. A good laugh. A good escape. A few hours’ reprieve from all the madness.

I sorta can’t wait for it to hit the shelves and do a little healing for anyone who could really use a moment of levity. My fondest wish this summer is for Abby to either get someone else through a tough time, or bring as many readers as possible a little giggle, or even just a few smiles. I’d die a happy woman if all of my efforts to bring her to life on the page resulted in just a couple of chuckles, knowing head shakes, and one or two grins. It would fill my heart with pride and gratitude.

Truly.

Huge, supportive hugs, my friends,

Victoria

a grave prediction

A Grave Prediction (Psychic Eye Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Release Date July 26, 2016
14th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473882
E-Book ASIN: B016JPTNIY
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In Victoria Laurie’s new Psychic Eye mystery, Abby Cooper learns that following the money often leads to murder . . .

Professional psychics learn to deal with skeptics, but Abby has to prepare herself for one steep uphill battle when she’s sent to San Diego to help train FBI officers to use their intuition. Her first challenge: a series of bank robberies in which the thieves made off with loads of cash but left no clues.

Abby’s sixth sense leads her team to a tract of land recently cleared for development. But instead of finding clues to the cash, Abby gets a vision of four buried bodies. A site search turns up some bones and pottery from an American Indian tribe, but that’s still enough to delay construction for years.

With a furious developer and dubious FBI agents on her back, Abby is losing credibility fast. But unlike the best laid plans, Abby’s talent rarely leads her astray. And if the bodies aren’t there yet, that means that four deaths can still be stopped. She’ll just have to dig a little deeper . . .

You can find out more about Victoria and her books on her webpage here. Join her fan group on Facebook here.


Also by Victoria Laurie

GIVEAWAY

The publisher is giving 1 Hardcover copy away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Victoria for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 6, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Jun 202016
 

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Hosted by Book Date

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

Happy Monday Everyone!!

I hope you had a great weekend!

Are you ready to Escape into some Good Books?

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

FINISHED


Murder at Redwood Cove
Release Date – October 13, 2015
My Review
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Murder at the Mansion
Release Date – June 7, 2016
Janet will be my Special Guest Tuesday!
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Engaged in Death (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
Stephanie will be my guest this week for Cozy Wednesday!
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Secret Lives and Private Eyes
The Great Escapes Tour stops her this Thursday!
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ON DECK THIS WEEK

A Study in Death (A Lady Darby Mystery)
Release Date – July 7, 2015
My Flashback Friday Book!
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Once Upon a Wine
Release Date – July 26, 2015
For Review
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Last Ride to Graceland
Release Date May 24, 2016
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Click Here To See All My Current Giveaways!!

Happy Reading!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Jun 082016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I love when Isabella Alan/Amanda Flower stops by for a visit!! 

Amanda Flower photo

Bigfoot Came to Town
By Amanda Flower / Isabella Alan

When it came time to write the fifth Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Murder, Handcrafted, I was convinced that I had the perfect hook. Bigfoot. That’s right; I wanted to put a Sasquatch in my Amish mystery. As far as I know, I am the first author to do this. It isn’t, of course, the most obvious direction to go when writing an Amish novel. However, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the world of Rolling Brook, which already had Angie the well-meaning quilt shop owner and sleuth, Oliver the French bulldog afraid of birds, Petunia the head-butting goat, Nahum the rogue Amish hermit, and Willow Moon the New Age tea shop owner. With that gang, Bigfoot would fit right in, or so I thought.

9780451475039Not surprisingly, I had a problem; my agent and editor both thought I’d finally gone off of the deep end. They asked me if I was “sure” I wanted to do this in a tone of voice that told me that they weren’t sure of it themselves. I begged and pleaded and finally they relented and said I could give it a try. Worst case scenario, I would have to write Bigfoot out, which would be more work for me than anyone else. What I love about my editor and my agent is they agreed because they trust me and my instincts when it comes to my books, especially those quirky humorous twists that I love to add.

In the final novel, Bigfoot is a subplot that is interwoven with the mystery. The main plot revolves around the murder of an electrician who is working at the home of Angie’s parents. Angie has to investigate because the murder impacts her parents and because she can’t keep her nose out of any murder investigation in Rolling Brook if she tried. One of the eye witnesses, who was near the scene close to the time of the murder, claims to have seen Bigfoot nearby. The question remains, was a Sasquatch or a very real human killer? That’s what Angie is determined to find out, much to the chagrin to her longtime boyfriend Sheriff James Mitchell.

By the time the book was finished, my agent and editor were happy with how I used Bigfoot in the story and agreed it was just what the series needed. I hope you will enjoy the end result just as much!

Happy Reading!

About The Author

Amanda Flower, a four-time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is librarian for in northeast Ohio. She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan.

Author Links:

Website            Pen Name Website

Facebook     Twitter

Goodreads     Pinterest

Purchase Links
Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

Writing as Amanda Flower


Prose and Cons: A Magical Bookshop Mystery – Coming in December.

 

9780451475039
Murder, Handcrafted (Amish Quilt Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th Book in Series
Setting – Ohio
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451475039
E-Book ASIN: B015DLUS4S
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Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock crosses wires with a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Murder, Plainly Read

Spring has arrived in Holmes County and Angie couldn’t be happier. She’s got great friends, a thriving business, and is in the perfect relationship with Sheriff James Mitchell. The only thing raining on her parade is her mother drafting her into a massive home renovation project—and using their sudden mother/daughter bonding time to comment on Angie’s ticking biological clock.

The house’s repairs and upgrades between the Amish craftsmen and their Englisch counterparts are proceeding well until a tremendous shock comes to the workers when the electrician is found dead on site. With the sheriff suspecting foul play, it falls to Angie to root a killer out of the woodwork. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another amazing read from Isabella Alan.

Angie Braddock life is so good, you just know something is going to go wrong. That’s is just what happens when her dad starts a huge kitchen redo and injures himself. Angie asks her friend Jonah to take over the remodeling while her dad heals but the Amish man ends up in the middle of a murder investigation when the electrician for the job is found dead outside her parent’s home. Angie knows it is up to her to find the real killer and proving Jonah’s innocence sure sparks her resolve. Hopefully she can do it without making her boyfriend, Sheriff James Mitchell too upset or getting herself right in the killer’s sights.

I love, love, love this series. I love the way Angie and James’ relationship is progressing even when getting a major push from her mom. I love Angie’s relationship with Jonah. Friends since childhood, their relationship could have gone several ways. But it has grown into a platonic true friendship and certain people just have to deal with it. I also love the way the author’s knowledge of Amish life is told in these stories. There are some conflicts between the Amish and the Englisch but Angie plays the perfect co-between so most things can be resolved.

Where this story tops previous installments in the unexpected character the author introduces. BIGFOOT!! in Ohio!! Could it be??? No spoilers here! You are going to have to read the book yourself!!

As always, Ms. Alan gives us a great mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end. It was filled with plenty of action too.

An awesome story with fantastic characters, humans and their 4 legged friends.

I am so upset this is the last book in the series. I definitely wanted more trips to Holmes County. Thank you to the author for leaving us with a happy ending.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Isabella for 5 Bonus Entries.

Subscribe to Amanda/Isabella’s newsletter for 4 Bonus Entries.
http://amandaflower.com/

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 22, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jun 042016
 

special guest blue

I am so happy to welcome Amanda Carmack to Escape With Dollycas today.
Her new book Murder at Fontainebleau will be released this coming Tuesday!

AMANDA CARMACK

A Tale of Two Palaces
(Guest Post provided by publicist.)

One of the best perks of writing historical mysteries is the research! I am a library junkie, and love spending time digging through dusty old books in search of just the right historical detail. (Of course, this also means sometimes it’s hard for me to stop researching and actually, y’know, use the research in writing!). Travel is also a fun way to immerse myself in a period, to imagine how my characters might have actually lived in Elizabethan times. Murder at Fontainebleau uses a sense of place even more than other stories I’ve written. We glimpse two palaces in the story, one the is long demolished and one that still exists to be toured, and they were a perfect example of the differences between English and French life in the 16th century, which Kate Haywood discovers for herself when she’s sent to Fontainebleau on a mission for Queen Elizabeth….

The English palace, Greenwich, was originally built in 1433 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, a brother of Henry V. It was a convenient spot for a castle, 5 miles from London and Thames-side, and was popular with subsequent rulers, especially Henry VIII. His father, Henry VII, remodeled the place extensively between 1498-1504 (after dispatching the previous occupant, Dowager Queen Elizabeth, to a convent). The new design was after the trendy “Burgundian” model, with the facade refaced in red Burgundian brick. Though the royal apartments were still in the “donjon” style (i.e. stacked rooms atop rooms), there were no moats or fortifications. It was built around 3 courtyards, with the royal apartments overlooking the river and many fabulous gardens and mazes, fountains and lawns.

At the east side of the palace lay the chapel; to the west the privy kitchen. Next door was the church of he Observant Friars of St. Francis, built in 1482 and connected to the palace by a gallery. This was the favorite church of Katherine of Aragon, who wanted one day to be buried there (of course, that didn’t turn out quite as she planned…)

murder at fontainebleauThough there are paintings and drawings of the exterior, not much is known of the interior decorations. The Great Hall was said to have roof timbers painted with yellow ochre, and the floors were wood, usually oak (some painted to look like marble). The ceilings were flat, with moulded fretwork and lavish gilding, embellished with badges and heraldic devices (often Katherine’s pomegranates and Henry’s roses). The furniture was probably typical of the era, carved dark wood chairs (often an X-frame design) and tables, benches and trunks. Wool or velvet rugs were on the floors of the royal apartments only, but they could also be found on tables, cupboards, and walls. Elaborate tiered buffets showed off gold and silver plate, and treasures like an gold salt cellar engraved with the initials “K and H” and enameled with red roses.

It was a royal residence through the reign of Charles I (1625-49), but under the Commonwealth the state apartments were made into stables, and the palace decayed. In 1662, Charles II demolished most of the remains and built a new palace on the site (this later became the Royal Naval College), and landscaped Greenwich Park. The Tudor Great Hall survived until 1866, and the chapel (used for storage) until the late 19th century. Apart from the undercroft (built by James I in 1606) and one of Henry VIII’s reservoir buildings of 1515, nothing of the original survives.

Fontainebleau, on the other hand, can be seen in much the state Francois I left it in. On February 24, 1525 there was the battle of Pavia, the worst French defeat since Agincourt. Many nobles were dead, and king was the prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor in Madrid. He was released in May, but only at the price of exchanging his sons (Dauphin Francois and Henri, duc d’Orleans) for his own freedom. In May 1526, Francois created the League of Cognac with Venice, Florence, the Papacy, the Sforzas of Milan, and Henry VIII to “ensure the security of Christendom and the establishment of a true and lasting peace.” (Ha!!) This led to the visit of the delegation in 1527, seeking a treaty of alliance with England and the betrothal of Princess Mary and the duc d’Orleans.

chateau-fontainebleauAfter his return from Madrid, Francois was not idle. Aside from plotting alliances, he started decorating. Having finished Chambord, he turned to Fontainebleau, which he loved for its 17,000 hectares of fine hunting land. All that remained of the original 12th century castle was a single tower. Francois built new ballrooms, galleries, and a chapel, and called in Italian artists like Fiorentino, Primaticcio, and Vignola to decorate them in lavish style (some of their work can still be seen in the frescoes of the Gallery of Francois I and the bedchamber of the king’s mistress the duchesse d’Etampes). The marble halls were filled with artworks, gold and silver ornaments, and fine tapestries. Unlike Greenwich, this palace was high and light, filled with sunlight that sparkled on the giltwork.

I know it’s hard to comment on a research-type post, but I’m curious–after reading about both palaces, which would you prefer to live in? (I’m torn, but I lean toward Fontainebleau, just because I was so awestruck when I visited!). Where would you like to see a book set?

For more behind-the-scenes history tidbits, and info on the Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mysteries, please visit me at http://amandacarmack.com

~Amanda

murder at fontainebleau

Murder at Fontainebleau (An Elizabethan Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (June 7, 2016)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451475701
E-Book – ASIN: B015DLUR1C
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In the latest Elizabethan mystery by the author of Murder at Whitehall, amateur sleuth Kate Haywood investigates deadly machinations unfolding behind the scenes in the magnificent French court.

1561. Queen Elizabeth’s throne is threatened as Mary Queen of Scots—pushed in every direction by opposing and powerful forces—declares herself the rightful Queen of England. To discover her rival’s next unpredictable move, Elizabeth dispatches a party of trustworthy intimates to Mary’s court at Fontainebleau. Chief among them is Kate Haywood, who finds that the glittering balls and genial banquets conceal a web of poisonous ambition that soon turns deadly.

When a beautiful and disruptively flirtatious member of the visiting party is murdered, Kate suspects that the man who stands accused has been set up to discredit Elizabeth. She vows to find the real killer, but the French court is a labyrinth unlike any she has ever navigated before—and at every turn there are more traps set to spring.

About The Author

Amanda has been in love with the Tudors ever since an accidental viewing of “Anne of the Thousand Days” on TV as a kid!  Now she just wishes she could live with them all the time–but there has to be time for writing about them too.

She also writes as Amanda McCabe and Laurel McKee, and her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a very bossy miniature Poodle, along with far too many books.

When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, yoga, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.


This novella came out in October.

Click on covers for more book info or to order from Amazon.
GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted.
Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Miranda for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to you Want To Read Shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Apr 212016
 

a clue in the stew
A Clue in the Stew (A Soup Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273128
E-Book ASIN: B011IVPB9Y
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Soup shop owner Lucky Jamieson stirs up more trouble in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave

When Lucky Jamieson opens up By the Spoonful to host an event with a famous author, she’s not expecting a bunch of nuts to descend on her small-town soup shop. But the author’s exasperating entourage—from a prickly publicist to a snippy son and his tipsy wife—give fresh meaning to the phrase, too many cooks spoil the broth.

The evening is more than spoiled, however, when it ends with a homicide. When the manner of the murder—as well as another recent unsolved crime—echoes the author’s fiction, Police Chief Nate Edgerton realizes he has a copycat killer on his hands. And Lucky hopes that one of her regular customers who has mysteriously gone missing isn’t involved. Once again, the soup shop owner will need to stir up some clues to find her friend and catch a cunning killer—before things really take a tureen for the worse…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a stew Lucky finds herself in the middle of this time.

The quiet little town of Snowflake, Vermont is all atwitter. A famous author, Hilary Stone, is coming to town and a big signing event is being planned. The original venue has been hit with a leaky roof so By the Spoonful has been asked to host the event. When the author’s people show up Lucky realizes she may have bite off more than she can chew. But the night goes well even though it ended before everyone was able to meet the author and get their book signed.

By the next morning Police Chief Nate Edgerton has 2 murders to solve. Hilary Stone was found dead in her room and other woman was found in the woods, killed in the same manner. Eerily the same way as Hilary wrote about in her book. When one of the By the Spoonful regulars goes missing Lucky wonders if he is involved or another victim. Could a disgruntled fan be the killer? With a little help from her friends and much to Nate’s dismay Lucky finds herself mixed up in another investigation.

The author drew me into this story right away. I felt like I had pulled up a chair in By The Spoonful, ordered soup and and a sandwich, and stayed for a show. Everything was so easy to visualize, I could almost smell the Tomato Pepper Soup. (recipe in the book)

These characters are some of my favorites, they are so relate-able. The relationship Lucky has with her grandfather always warms my heart but in this story that relationship could be ripped apart when a new waitress sets her sights on Jack. She had my blood boiling so it is easy to imagine what Lucky was feeling. Sage and Sophie are adjusting to their life together and both are such good friends to Lucky.  Meg is felling overwhelmed being the only waitress and gives Lucky an ultimatum. In addition to the new waitress we also meet Hilary Stone for a very short time and her entourage. The Big City people weren’t too impressed with the small town of Snowflake.

Connie Archer has whipped up a fabulous mystery. Small town life and all its trial and tribulation with plenty of skillful plot twists.  When everything revealed I was totally surprised.

My favorite thing in the story was the Murder Investigation Club. Lucky, her friends and regulars banded together to try to figure out whodunit. They talked about the suspects and their theories of motive and opportunity. They helped Lucky by being a great sounding board too. I hope the club gets together in future stories.

I love this series and this is an excellent addition. I look forward to visiting again soon!

 perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Connie and her books visit her webpage here

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 5,, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Apr 162016
 

MODERN GIRLS

Modern Girls
Historical Fiction
Published by New American Library (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477125
E-Book – ASIN: B011IVWPCU
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A dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935…

How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish girls.

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….

Jenny Brown, June 9, 2015.

Jennifer S. Brown considers herself a Floridian, having moved to Miami as a three-year-old and spending the majority of her formative years in Miami Beach. But then again, she’ll also identify as a New Yorker after earning a BFA in filmmaking from New York University and sticking around the City to work in publishing and—for a very brief stint—at a talent agency (and to be technical about it, she was born in New York City). Her passion for Seattle developed when she earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and then settled into a job as an editor at, what was then billed as, “that little online bookstore,” aka Amazon.com. She now lives and writes in the suburbs of Boston.

Her fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest (judged by Robert Olen Butler) in the Southeast Review. Her creative nonfiction piece, “The Codeine of Jordan,” published in the Bellevue Literary Review, was selected as a notable essay in 2012’s The Best American Travel Writing and included in volume 9 of The Best Women’s Travel Writing.

Her first novel, Modern Girls, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter on her webpage here.


Click cover to purchase from Amazon.
GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Apr 082016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

I didn’t get to read a book for this feature this week but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a book to share with you.

the measby murder enquiry

The Measby Murder Enquiry (Ivy Beasley)

2nd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date – May 3, 2011
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425241561
E-Book ASIN: B004Q7DQNQ
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Cantankerous spinster Ivy Beasley has quickly learned that spending her golden years in the quaint village of Barrington won’t be as quiet as she thought. Ivy hasn’t been in assisted living at Springfields for long, but she’s already found new friends, formed a detective agency, and solved a murder. And as autumn falls, Ivy and her team are asked to investigate a mysterious death in the village of Measby-in between card games, of course.

GIVEAWAY
I have one brand new copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 22, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Apr 022016
 

the ones who matter most

The Ones Who Matter Most
by Rachael Herron
Release Date – – April 5, 2016
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451476760
E-Book ASIN: B011IVPBPI
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From the acclaimed author of Splinters of Light and Pack Up the Moon comes a beautiful novel about two very different women who are about to get a second chance at creating a family…

After her husband dies unexpectedly, Abby Roberts comes across something startling: wedding photographs of him with another woman, along with pictures of a baby boy. Shocked, Abby does something utterly impulsive: She embarks on a journey to discover the family her husband apparently left behind.

Money has always been tight for single mom Fern Reyes, and never tighter than now. But this month, in place of a child-support check, her ex’s pretty, privileged wife appears on her doorstep with far too many questions. Unfortunately, her young son is so taken with Abby that Fern doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care…

CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED

rachael herron from amazon
About The Author

Rachael Herron is the bestselling author of the novels Splinters of Light and Pack Up the Moon (both from Penguin), the five-book Cypress Hollow series, and the memoir, A Life in Stitches. She also writes under the pen name Lila Ashe. She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, Oakland. She’s a New Zealand citizen as well as an American, and she is a proud member of the NaNoWriMo Writers Board. This semester, she’s teaching writing extension workshops at both UC Berkeley and Stanford. Visit her at www.rachaelherron.com or find her where she lives: on Twitter @rachaelherron on Facebook, on Pinterest too.


Find more books by Rachael Herron here.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Facials Can Be Fatal (A Bad Hair Day Mystery) by Nancy J. CohenBuy Now
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